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Thread: How do you get fine detail of planets.

  1. #21
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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.



    Quote Originally Posted by mental4astro View Post
    Seeing is also VERY fluid. It can go from brilliant to crap in an instant, and the same the other way around. Also one section of the sky can be awful and another spectacular.
    Those "mythical" portholes are a prime example. They're small and fleeting, and give those insane levels of clean magnification that we often go years without seeing again. Of course nobody believes you until they happen to stumble upon one themselves.
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  3. #22
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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Astronut2 View Post
    I know this does not apply to Mercury and not very much with Venus, but Altitude of the object also makes a big difference on what details you will see. The higher the better.
    I had absolutely no idea that viewing quality of some targets are not affected much by Altitude.
    Irrespective of how bright or light wavelength, I expected poorer viewing of everything, since very low viewing means looking through significantly more atmosphere, maybe 2 or 3 times as much? Plus if the light delivered to your scope arrives almost tangential to the earth, then the light has to pass through many more miles of heavy light pollution?

    Or is simply that with very bright objects the earth's atmosphere simply acts as a natural filter?

  4. #23
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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippie View Post
    I had absolutely no idea that viewing quality of some targets are not affected much by Altitude.
    Irrespective of how bright or light wavelength, I expected poorer viewing of everything, since very low viewing means looking through significantly more atmosphere, maybe 2 or 3 times as much? Plus if the light delivered to your scope arrives almost tangential to the earth, then the light has to pass through many more miles of heavy light pollution?

    Or is simply that with very bright objects the earth's atmosphere simply acts as a natural filter?
    I think he just meant to say that Venus and Mercury are always low above the horizon so you will look through a thick atmosphere no matter what. Plus, there is not much to see anyway.
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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.

    Thanks Guys, you have all provided a comprehensive explanation of the issues and some really good suggestions. Some points are straight forward, but less obvious to newbies like me until attention is first drawn to them. Alex 's contribution interestingly addressed aperture size amongst other things. This could easily explain why I have been getting viewing results from my 8 inch GSO Dob that are at least as good, if not better, than my 10 inch SkyLiner Dob.

    From everyone's collective comments I gather that your viewing experience can sometimes be improved. Sometimes filters can help - but not for all conditions and sometimes only for certain scopes.
    While Googling the internet I found this awesome article on filters:
    https://www.bhphotovideo.com/explora...escope-filters
    Although I now realise it should be used only as a guide, for those who wish to experiment with filters and it should not be regarded as "The Magic Fix-All".

    I expected filters to be the main answer to my question, but it turns out to be only a small part of it. The wider solution encompasses many things, including using a scope best suited for the conditions, starting with realistic expectations, planning and preparation, using predictive apps and starting each time with a test viewing of Polaris.
    Additionally the flexibility to adapt to the conditions by switching from planetary observations to DSO's.
    The question started out about improving observed detail, but it is really more about improving the viewing experience, of which detail is just one of the contributing factors.
    It also includes what is probably the most important factor of all, PATIENCE. - To be willing to wait for mother nature to present you with a window of opportunity, that will leave you grinning like a Cheshire Cat as you steal that moment and make it yours to remember. And it sounds like we need a lot of patience for planetary observation, with the next optimum viewing period for our neighbouring planets being in 2 years time.

    Once again, thanks to you all, as I have probably learned more about observation from this one thread than I have from everything I have read elsewhere. If only because I have a better understanding of both expectations and how to get the best out a session now.

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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.

    About filters and the filtering effect of some eyepieces: as LEDs replace narrow-band lights, the less helpful these filters will be as LED produces wide band light.
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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.

    Quote Originally Posted by CamelHat View Post
    About filters and the filtering effect of some eyepieces: as LEDs replace narrow-band lights, the less helpful these filters will be as LED produces wide band light.
    If white LED lighting is wideband and is going to stop LPR filters from working, should the Astronomy Community be looking to form a worldwide lobby, to ensure that new planning applications only get approved if Yellow LED lights or Yellow Filters are used? If this was done, the wavelength might be slightly different to the sodium light, but the light pollution would still be narrow band and we would still be able to filter out a significant amount of the pollution.

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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Zippie View Post
    If white LED lighting is wideband and is going to stop LPR filters from working, should the Astronomy Community be looking to form a worldwide lobby, to ensure that new planning applications only get approved if Yellow LED lights or Yellow Filters are used? If this was done, the wavelength might be slightly different to the sodium light, but the light pollution would still be narrow band and we would still be able to filter out a significant amount of the pollution.
    In an ideal and reasoned world that would work (and local lobbys do exist). The problem is there are jurisdictions were getting any LP laws passed are met with fierce opposition or blown off as tree hugging nonsense. Heck, my suburban area stops at "don't mount lights facing upwards". Beyond that, no type/level of lighting is banned (including aerial spot lights with a permit). There's also a push back from the "not our place" amateur astronomers which think we have no right to request, or attempt to regulate, any LP. So in their view if your neighbors' unshielded HID lights up your yard like a stadium, sell your house and move some place else.
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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.

    I live in a small town where I know I am probably the only resident that gives a hoot about light pollution.
    The only thing going for me is that some of our town power comes across the border from Canada (due to some favor we did them with constructing a dam) and is very cheap-like 5 or 2.5 cents Kw/hr depending on when used.
    At that price the municipality has no great interest in converting to more economical LED lighting.
    Good for me, but I still agonize about even that charge as LED lighting is more efficient.
    It's really tough to be a good environmentalist and an astronomer.
    I can't imagine that if I asked the municipality to shield my local streetlamps they would respond.
    People move away, or pass away.
    One man's darkened street that is better for astronomy is another man's fear of vandalism and burglary.
    I see both points of view and try not to let self interest rule.

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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.

    In the UK planning law says that a new development can be approved provided there are not any adverse effects on any amenities a neighbour may have. There are only certain things you can object against. You cannot object if the new development reduces the value of your home by over 50% or if it affects your landscape view. Yet these 2 are the most objections that residents submit.
    But what you can object against is if it affects any of the amenities that you enjoy. This includes loss of light into a main window, an increase in noise, or a loss of darkness providing you can prove that you enjoy the darkness for your hobby so you may have to show off your telescope.
    It is even easier to object if you can show that you have enjoyed that amenity for over 20 years.
    When they built the supermarket at the bottom of my garden they tried to fence us all out of the new development. But I showed that I had lived there for over 20 years and had unrestricted access all that time. So I was the resident to be given a private lockable gate to the new shopping centre car park.
    If only I had already taken up Astronomy I would have made them put yellow filters onto their car park floodlighting too.
    Is it possible that some US states have similar laws that are simply not well publicised?
    I know that if we take our cars to certain EU countries we have to put yellow filters on our headlights.

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    Default Re: How do you get fine detail of planets.

    Quote Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
    I live in a small town where I know I am probably the only resident that gives a hoot about light pollution.
    The only thing going for me is that some of our town power comes across the border from Canada (due to some favor we did them with constructing a dam) and is very cheap-like 5 or 2.5 cents Kw/hr depending on when used.
    At that price the municipality has no great interest in converting to more economical LED lighting.
    Good for me, but I still agonize about even that charge as LED lighting is more efficient.
    Yes, it's true that LED lighting is broad spectrum, so not as easily filtered out as low pressure (orange) Sodium street lights, but they can be very welcome because they are much better directed - if applied well.
    Here's the difference that LEDs made to our street
    lighting.gif

    A member of our Astro Soc is delighted that his local council has introduced LED lights, as they are much more directional, and it means that he no longer has to do a 1.5 mile walk (with an EQ6 mount) to do 'southern sky' imaging, he can now do that outside his house.
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